Posts Tagged ‘Culture’
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
When one looks at a vineyard – you’re not looking at it in the same way as you would look at an orange orchard. Instead one sees a multitude of experiences past and of moments yet to come – moments of intimacy, memorable occasions, conversations and treasured friendships. Since time immemorial, vineyards have not only been the touchstone of certain regions, but have often been the lifeblood of local communities and the cornerstone of entire generations of families. Every vineyard contains a family, a history, a culture and a purpose. This was at least, the sentiment I had before embarking on a mission to New York City, where I would promote and sell wine’s connected to my family in some ways, and more importantly – wine from my country. During that time – having spent much time in preparation for the mission, I left with those stories and sentiments of culture and family fresh in my blood. But with every sales-call and wine event I began to feel further and further from the vineyard. Soon it was about laid in cost, case-discounts and what kind of Point of Sale material was on offer. I travelled the country in a rental car with a case of wine, a corskrew and a power-point presentation along the way having people from Westchester Wine Warehouse cruelly spit wine on my shoe after having left me waiting for an hour, sitting in cold-rooms of cellars in Maryland, helping do stock-takes in Ohio, presenting to Wholefoods buyers in North Carolina and pushing on-premise retail in Atlanta: and with every step I became a bit more confused and lost the focus of what I was doing. Having believed that wine was so important to my country and stepping into the States to tell the story of South African wine, it was very dispiriting to suddenly be faced with the fact that no one really cared so long as they could make a profit.
Tags: aid, Atlanta, Business, Culture, Energy, event, Food, friends, history, market, New York, philosophy, power, preparation, purpose, read, restaurant, restaurants, review, Sales, SC, South Africa, step, tasting, Travel, Vine, Wine, wineries, winery, world, writing
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Monday, July 14th, 2008
Late Night TV — It was 12:15pm EST last Friday, July 11, and David Letterman’s Late Show had just gone to a commercial. You might wonder the relevance especially related to Grapethinking? But I feel I must tell you about the absurdly ridiculous guest I saw pitching a product that deserves to be shunned and whose creator/promoter deserves to be sent to one of the deeper rings in Dante’s Inferno. Her name is known throughout the Internet and entertainment circles like any STD in a free walk-in clinic, haven’t guessed yet? Its Paris Hilton, a woman who I attribute the downfall of what is left of American Culture and in this instance it is no different, it is probably even more apparent. Ms. Hilton in all of her infinite wisdom has thought it would be a good idea to market the brand RICH Prosecco (an Italian grape used to make sparkling wine) in a can because it’s sexy. Don’t get me wrong I get the whole new age sexy marketing idea, it’s a damn good one, but putting sparkling wine in a can is like drinking Don Perignon out of a Dixie Cup… not to mention the hangover that will surely follow. I can’t imagine what the Italians think of this blatant slap in the face; some poor smuck (pardon my Yiddish) who has never made it in the world of wine probably got offered a lot of money to sell out. Of course the next product she presented was on the go hair extensions called clipin go. David was sarcastically heckling her the whole time… gotta love him.
What do you think about this change in wine marketing? Does a can make wine more sexy and appealing in a club atmosphere?
Monday, December 31st, 2007
When buying a bottle of Champagne, if the label says from “Champagne, France“,â€œmethode traditionelleâ€, or â€œMÃ©thode Champenoiseâ€, the wine is in fact truly a “Champagne“. All other wines are “Sparkling Wine”. While this does sound somewhat snobbish and aristocratic, it does serve a good purpose in protecting the brand of the area. Another example of this type of “rule” that you may be more familiar with is the Vidalia Onion, which you can easily cook with champagne, or sparkling wine, to create some great hors d’oeuvres for this New Year.
You have to check out these Champagne Onion recipes we found over at The Gilded Fork. I’m going to make them tomorrow, and have a good idea at the different flavors I can create by using different combinations of sparkling wine and onions. (more…)
Saturday, September 15th, 2007
Most of the players in the United States Rugby side probably wouldn’t know where to point if you asked them to indicate Tonga’s position on a map, and thus it must have been quite satisfying for the small island to serve a cold can of whip-ass to the world’s only remaining superpower yesterday when the shamed Eagles lost 25 points to 15. The USA’s dismal performance in the Rugby and Soccer World Cup all serve as a startling reminder of the tremendous lack of interest in world affairs on the US’s part – and that when it comes to world sport, environmental protocols and UN resolutions, the US is not a team player. Of course it is not only in sport that the US are beaten by small and obscure nations, it would seem that recently the score-board in War hasn’t been to flattering either (think Vietnam, Somalia and Iraq where most of the soldiers who have been thrown into wars there probably couldn’t have found the country they’re fighting in on a map before they were stationed there.) Perhaps the lesson in all this is that aside from at a bit of geography in high-school, it would perhaps be good foreign policy to try prime the pumps of worldly curiosity within the Nation. I dare say that there’s no better way to get to learn a little geography and some history than by drinking wine and having a love of food. Imagine people switching off the mind-dulling and hate spewing Fox News, and switching over to the Food Network for a cooking show in Tuscany, a wine tour in Syria or a cuisine pilgrimage to Morocco. Perhaps we could do away with some of the demonization of the Middle-East if we were to explore their culture. Hell, how’s this for an idea: instead of trying to destroy the rest of the world, how about enjoying it! What a crazy thing that would be, enjoy and don’t destroy. There is after all such a thing as soft-power, which is where you win wars not with bullets and rifles, but with culture and ideas.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
Good wine making often comes down to getting the blend right. It’s interesting how wine can often serve as an apt metaphor for life and culture – especially in regard to blending in this case. So much of America is still so racially divided – and seeing as America serves as a role model to so many countries, a more integrated America will make for a better world.
One of the things that struck me on going to Atlanta in May was that its a city where the blend of race, culture and lifestyle is one of the most balanced I’ve seen anywhere in the world. In fact I didn’t feel any tension, and from people I spoke to I got the impression that a cultural shift is underway and the east coast is leading the way.